Lots of folks have asked me to do a Colorado voting guide for 2019. There is so much to know about local issues and candidates that I don't have the time to research in depth, and there are only two statewide issues on the ballot, but I'm happy to share with you what my recommendations are for the issues and races that I've done at least a modest amount of research on. Sorry if I'm not as much help as you'd like. It's just VERY hard to be on top of so many local issues and candidates and I'm hesitant to give strong recommendations in elections that I'm not voting in myself unless I'm absolutely certain that my position is the correct one.
Prop CC: Not just no, but hell no!
Proposition CC is a permanent (though maybe not every-year) tax increase brought to you by the same people for so many years have misspent the tax money they already spend, including always lying about using the increased state budgets to raise teacher pay and fix our roads. I'll simplify slightly, for brevity: Under TABOR, if the state takes in more money than it's allowed to by mathematical formula, it must refund the money to taxpayers. Under CC, it will keep those refunds forever. To be clear, it is not a tax RATE hike and it does not end ordinary tax refunds that one would get every year due to paying more in tax than one actually owes based on ordinary tax calculations in years with no TABOR refund. But it will permanently eliminate TABOR refunds. Furthermore because it is an unknown and almost certainly not-every-year source of revenue it CANNOT be used as the basis for raising teacher salaries or backing bonds to fix our roads. The state budget has gone up 80% while the population has gone up 20% (in the past decade, approximately). They have ENOUGH of our money. More good info here: https://votenooncc.com/
Prop DD: Yes!
Prop DD has the opposite problem from Prop CC. CC is a tax increase that's worded as if it's not one. DD is a new tax, yes, but it's a new tax on economic activity that will only exist if DD passes, namely on sports gambling through existing Colorado casinos. It's a parallel to the measure that legalized casino gambling to begin with and we're told by the legislative sponsors (Republican and Democrat) that the tax rate is LOWER than the rate on other casino profits. Again, the tax is ONLY on the casino's profits. Furthermore, the money is directed to the Colorado Water Plan...which is money that will get spent one way or another (and which will cost more than this will generate, so this will fund only part of it but that's still a good start.) In short, I see Prop DD as a step toward freedom, not as a tax increase. I also note that only two groups seem opposed: Radical environmentalists who hate there ever being a dam on the river even if it's needed to ensure water supply for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, and Colorado Christian University's Centennial Institute, in part because they believe gambling is a sin. Even if I thought it was a sin, I don't think it's government's job to make sins illegal except to the extent that it's something like physical assault or fraud, e.g. a sin that also violates the fundamental rights of someone else. More info here: https://yesondd.com/
Ballot measure 1A:
OK, I'm being a little misleading with that section title because multiple counties have 1A on their ballots and each is different though they all appear to be tax increases. The only one that I think is worth consideration for a Yes vote is Arapahoe County, and I say that carefully because that's where I live so I am recommending that we consider supporting raising my taxes. Arapahoe 1A is specifically to build and operate a new jail in a county that desperately needs a new jail. The others that I've seen (JeffCo and DougCo) are measures that I do not support and would recommend a "No" vote but I encourage you to read the arguments on both sides for yourself.
My heuristic (shortcut) for school board elections is to check the candidates' web sites for endorsements and look for the endorsement of the CEA (Colorado Education Association) or the NEA (National Education Association). If you see either, do NOT vote for that person. If you can't tell who the union-endorsed candidates are in a race, just call or email them and ask in a very neutral way, so they don't know what answer you'd prefer: "What's your position on charter schools?" and "Have you been endorsed by a teachers union?" If the latter is yes, vote no. If the former is opposition or weak-kneed support, vote no unless the other candidate is endorsed by a union. I have only a few specific recommendations:
- Denver: Seems like the good candidates are Alexis Menocal Harrigan and Diana Romero Campbell. Do NOT vote for Anderson or Baldermann.
- Jefferson County: Vote for Robert Applegate and Susan Miller
- Douglas County: Vote for Kory Nelson, Andy Jones, and Franceen Thompson
- I HAVE EMAILED OTHER CANDIDATES IN OTHER PLACES AND WILL UPDATED THIS AS I GET RESPONSES -- again, short answer is if a candidate is endorsed by a teachers union, i will generally recommend not voting for him or her. That doesn't automatically mean the other candidate is good, but it's likely that the other candidate is better if you favor educational freedom and wise spending of taxpayer money.
- [UPDATE] Aurora: Amber Drevon (I recommend NO) tells me she supports charter schools and has not been endorsed by the union but she has been endorsed by the "Colorado Progressive Network" which is a Democrat-run committee. Nichelle Ortiz (I recommend NO) gives an answer that I'm not comfortable with re charter schools, and on the basis if which I wouldn't be able to support her, in addition to her having been endorsed by the "Colorado Progressive Network" which is another big red flag: "I think that any new charter applications must be considered on an individual basis and I cannot blankety answer yes or no. If a charter is proposing to offer a program or option that is not currently being offered in one of our existing schools then we should consider. I also believe that a charter school should be held accountable and be overseen by the school district they are geographically located as they know the needs of the community best." Stephanie Mason (I strongly recommend NO) gave the most aggressively anti-charter school answer of all the candidates in a newspaper interview.
- [UPDATE] Littleton: Candidate Jessica Roe (I recommend YES) informs me that of the four candidates, there are three Democrats and an independent; no Republicans are in the race. Jessica's answers to my questions are too long to quote here but with one quibble (regarding the need for teacher certification) she sounds like the most pro-choice (pun intended) Democrat you're likely to find in our elections this year on the issue of families determining what sort of schooling is best for their children. She was also not endorsed by the Littleton teachers union, which is a feather in her cap. She expressed a concern that union endorsement seems to mean union ownership of the board member, which again impressed me coming from a Democrat.